With regard to aid for trade, the example of the EPADP in West Africa illustrates the inadequacies of these initiatives in ensuring that EU free trade agreements are truly linked to development objectives, namely the fight against poverty. West African countries argued that all aid-for-trade funds should be “revalidated” – not by EU commitments under the European Development Fund (EDF). They also calculated that the transition cost of the EPA and the financial resources associated with it to increase productivity would amount to EUR 9.5 billion. Nevertheless, the European Commission has responded by partnering with a significantly reduced amount of EUR 6.5 billion, which explicitly stems from existing EDF commitments (Langan and Price, 2015, p. 283). As a result, many civil society organisations in West Africa felt that the EU had deceived West African citizens. That is, EU officials have agreed that the EPADP should only be established as a “development-friendly” as a means of legitimiseing the free trade agreement, despite its likely negative effects on key sectors such as poultry in the region. For example, the West African civil society platform on the Cotonou agreement stated that “the EU`s persistent refusal to commit, for the most part and concretely, to covering the cost of the budgetary adjustment that the EPA will impose on ECOWAS economists and additional funds for the Pope [EPADP] is a clear violation of existing agreements and commitments” (ibid. 281, initial capitalization). Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has condemned the modest EU offer in the relative context of billions in bailouts of eurozone members (ibid.).

Recommendation: The EU should stop insisting on the inclusion in all trade agreements with ACP countries of new issues such as investment, competition policy and public procurement, as well as more WTO provisions on services and intellectual property rights. If countries want to include one of the trade-related themes, they should follow an explicit global development perspective, without reducing the policy options needed for ACP countries. It is time to oppose China and we should start with monetary manipulation. It seems that the government`s biggest fear is that China will stop lending us money to finance the trade deficit. But there is a precedent for action. In 1971, Germany and Japan began manipulating their currencies. The Reagan administration imposed a 10% premium on their imports, and they immediately stopped manipulating their currencies. We need to do the same for China and other Asian countries, but the premium should start at 25% and be reduced accordingly if they comply. China remains a communist dictatorship, although it has adopted certain aspects of capitalism to participate in world trade.

Unlike America`s free trade approach, communist capitalism works on the strategy of mercantilism and plays the game according to its own rules. Recommendation: In accordance with the Cotonou Agreement, the governments of the European Commission, EU Member States and ACP countries should conduct in-depth consultations with civil society organisations, as they “play a complementary role and their potential to contribute to the development process and, in particular, representative organisations of farmers and workers as sectors most affected by the trade agreements envisaged implementation. Overall, the inclusion of literature on EU initiatives for `dialogue` and `participation` shows that civil society actors and representatives of African businesses are being denied a real chance to have a real impact on EU trade and aid policies.